Disaster assistance will be made available to livestock producers affected by extensive bushfires in the Barcaldine area, Queensland agriculture and regional economies minister Tim Mulherin announced yesterday.
In the last week more than 300,000 hectares has been burnt-out around Barcaldine, impacting on at least 38 properties, with ten having lost between 80 percent and 100 percent of their grazing country.
Mr Mulherin said Category B natural disaster assistance would be provided for eligible primary producers in the fire-affected Barcaldine regional council area.
He said it is encouraging to see that the majority of producers in fire-stricken areas were prepared for the fire season and in a position to self-manage their cleanup.
"In the Barcaldine area, however, some fires were extremely extensive and damaging, and beyond the control of landholders. We are now working with those people to provide what assistance we can," he said.
"This is a timely reminder for all producers across Queensland to be disaster-ready in the lead-up to the wet season.
Category B assistance under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) will enable affected primary producers to apply for low-interest concessional loans and freight subsidies to assist with recovery from the bush fires.
"Due to the widespread extent of lost pasture, fodder will need to be brought in to sustain livestock until they can be shifted elsewhere,” Mr Mulherin said.
"There has been significant fire destruction of fences, poly pipe used for stock water, sheds, bores, solar panels, tanks and other farm infrastructure.”
A number of issues had been identified which departmental officers on the ground would work through, including feed for stranded cattle, movement and agistment of cattle, animal welfare concerns and mental health issues.
An increased number of DEEDI officers, including Rural Financial Counsellors were now on the ground in the region providing advice and assistance.
The Department has established a fodder register in Longreach to assist those trying to locate where fodder is available.
NDRRA Category B assistance provides:
- Concessional loans through QRAA to primary producers of up to $250,000
- Freight subsidies for primary producers of up to $5,000.
Freight assistance can be used for the transportation cost of:
- Fodder for livestock
- Removal of livestock
- Replacement of building material and equipment
- Restocking of animals
- Transport of drinking water onto the property for livestock.
Mr Mulherin said the situation would be closely monitored in other local government areas which had also suffered recent fire outbreaks. Information to date had indicated that the fire damage elsewhere was not as extensive as that in Barcaldine.
"Primary producers outside of the Barcaldine declared area who have been impacted by fire and wish to access assistance can apply for an Individually Disaster Stricken Property (IDSP) declaration," he said.
- For information on the fodder register and information about the nutritional requirements of cattle in areas burnt out, producers can contact DEEDI on 13 25 23.
- To find out more about IDSPs and freight subsidy information contact DEEDI on 13 25 23.
- To find out more information about concessional loans contact QRAA on Freecall 1800 623 946 or www.qraa.qld.gov.au.